Gambling Wife Burning Husband
In late January, a famously controversial reporter in Vietnam, Le Hoang Hung (50) died in his hospital bed, ten days after agonizing third-degree burns covered more than half of his body. His wife, Tran Thi Thuy Lieu (40), was devastated, blaming his job for the brutal attack turned murder. That is, until three weeks later when she confessed that she had actually lit him on fire herself.
The original story was that crime bosses must have hired a hit on Le Hoang Hung due to his divisive reporting. He was a journalist who didn’t mind unveiling facts about notorious criminals and publishing them in the Nguoi Lao Dong newspaper where he was employed. According to the head of Long An provincial police, Colonel Phan Chi Thanh, however, Lieu was a lead suspect from the very beginning.
When Tran Thi Thuy Lieu finally confessed to her husband’s murder, she said that he was never meant to actually die. She merely wanted to scare him. She listed two reasons for her actions.
The first reason was that her husband beat her and shouted at her on a regular basis. Why would he do this? Out of jealousy. Why is he jealous? Because his wife has been caught in a multitude of extramarital affairs over the last few years. Okay, so that’s number one.
The second reason Lieu chose to “scare” her husband was because she had accumulated quite the gambling debt over the last year, surmounting a balance of about VND $1.5 billion (USD $75,000). She wanted Hung to sell the house so that she could pay off the debt, but he refused.
So here’s what really went down (according to the police report, post-confession)…
Tran Thi Thuy Lieu purchased a small amount of petrol fuel, contained in a plastic bag, and a rope on the morning of January 17th, 2011. That afternoon, when Lieu was home alone, she tied the rope to the second floor balcony and hid it in the shadows.
On January 19th, around midnight, she moved the rope so that it dangled down, hopefully leading investigators to believe someone had climbed up from outside. She then proceeded to douse her husband’s sleeping body with the petrol and set it alight.
As soon as the flames took, Lieu ran into another room, laid down and pretended to be sleeping. Within moments, her husband’s flaming frame came barreling out of the bedroom, screaming for help.
She helped to extinguish the flames and, with the aid of neighbors, took her husband to the hospital, where he was later transferred to Cho Ray Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City. He died from third degree burns ten days later on January 29th, 2011.
Police have unveiled, and Tran Thi Thuy Lieu concurs, that there was an accomplice in all this, but she refuses to reveal the name of her partner in crime.
When I first heard about this incident – the basic details being that a woman had murdered her husband because of extramarital affairs and excessive gambling debts – I naturally assumed the blame for these unsavory activities fell upon the husband. You have to wonder how many people would actually consider killing their spouse because they wouldn’t fork over the house to pay the adulterous murderer-to-be’s gambling debts.